As I have lamented in Forgotten New York before, New York City is much better at eliminating transit lines than building them; during my lifetime, elevateds such as Third Avenue in the Bronx, the Myrtle Avenue El, the Culver Shuttle and the east end of the Jamaica Avenue el have disappeared, with little or nothing to replace them. Heavy rail lines are difficult to build, but easy to get rid of.
One line I wish I had rode but arrived way too late to the party for was the World’s Fair Shuttle, which connected the Queens Boulevard IND (now the E and F lines) from east of the 75th Avenue station, through the Jamaica Yards along the path currently traced by the Van Wyck Expressway to Horace Harding Boulevard at the World’s Fair, now the Long Island Expressway. Photos taken at the time (the title card photo is from the George Conrad collection) show a semi-rural line running through meadows along Willow and Meadow Lakes, which are still there. To this day it’s one of the IND’s infrequent outdoor forays.
The line ended at what was a futuristic station, with streamlined design and stylized station lamps that looked like something out of the world from tomorrow from the movie Things To Come. But when the fair closed, the tracks were pulled up and Jamaica Yards reconfigured. The story I have heard was that the tracks were temporary in nature and would have cost quite a bit to modify at a time when money was still tight and a possible war was on the horizon.
Sick transit, Gloria.
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